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LANTHEUS MEDICAL IMAGING, INC. ACQUIRES U.S., CANADIAN and AUSTRALIAN RIGHTS TO MS-325 (formerly marketed as VASOVIST®, gadofosveset trisodium, by Bayer Schering Pharma) FROM EPIX PHARMACEUTICALS

Acquisition of Novel MRA Contrast Agent for Peripheral Vascular Imaging
Expands Company Product Offerings and Supports Future Growth

N. BILLERICA, Mass. (April 7, 2009) – Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., a worldwide leader in diagnostic imaging, announced today that it has acquired from EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EPIX) the U.S., Canadian, and Australian rights to MS-325 (formerly marketed as VASOVIST®, gadofosveset trisodium, by Bayer Schering Pharma), a novel magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) agent. In December 2008, EPIX received U.S. Food and Drug Administration marketing approval for MS-325 to evaluate aortoiliac occlusive disease (AIOD) in adults with known or suspected peripheral vascular disease. Currently, there are no other imaging agents approved for MRA in the U.S.

The acquisition of MS-325 further builds on Lantheus’ diagnostic imaging product portfolio and expands the company’s presence to the radiology market.  Under the terms of the agreement, Lantheus acquired the U.S. (including Puerto Rico), Canadian, and Australian rights to MS-325 from EPIX. EPIX will continue to own European and other ex-U.S. rights for the imaging agent. Lantheus is planning to launch MS-325 under a different name before the year-end.

“The acquisition of MS-325 reinforces our growth strategy to continue to bring to market breakthrough new imaging tools.  MS-325 fits well within our current product portfolio of leading contrast imaging agents. As a first-in-class contrast agent, MS-325 provides a true advance in vascular imaging, and may make it possible for physicians to detect peripheral vascular disease differently than X-ray angiography, which is invasive. We are pleased with this important acquisition and look forward to making this diagnostic tool available to physicians to improve diagnosis and patient management,” said Don Kiepert, president and CEO of Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc.

“We are proud to have completed this important transaction with Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., a global leader with more than 50 years of experience in the diagnostic imaging space,” said Elkan Gamzu, Ph.D., president and CEO of EPIX. “We believe that Lantheus is the ideal company to bring this product to market. Under Lantheus’ leadership, MS-325 is well-positioned to become a solid market leader in the field of vascular imaging.  Lantheus’ commitment to MS-325 also serves as a strong endorsement of the product’s diagnostic value in improving the ability to visualize the human vascular system.”

About MS-325

MS-325 is an injectable intravascular contrast agent designed to provide improved imaging of the vascular system through magnetic resonance angiography imaging (MRA). MS-325 has been approved for marketing in the United States and in 37countries outside the United States, including Canada, Australia, all 27 member states of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Turkey, Korea, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Ukraine. Global marketing rights (outside the U.S., Canada, and Australia) to MS-325 which were held by Bayer Schering Pharma until March 1, 2009 have been transferred to EPIX.

See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning 
Gadolinium-based contrast agents increase the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients with:

  • acute or chronic severe renal insufficiency (glomerular filtration rate <30 mL/min/1.73m2), or
  • acute renal insufficiency of any severity due to the hepato-renal syndrome or in the perioperative liver transplantation period.

In these patients, avoid use of gadolinium-based contrast agents unless the diagnostic information is essential and not available with non-contrast enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). NSF may result in fatal or debilitating systemic fibrosis affecting the skin, muscle, and internal organs. Screen all patients for renal dysfunction by obtaining a history and/or laboratory tests. When administering a gadolinium-based contrast agent, do not exceed the recommended dose and allow a sufficient period of time for elimination of the agent from the body prior to any re-administration.

update: Siemens Employee blows the whislte on the company.

The federal raid by agents from the Department of Defense (DoD) on Siemens Healthcare‘s facility in Malvern, Pa., appears to stem from a whistleblower lawsuit reagarding the company’s pricing of medical imaging equipment in contracts with the federal government.

The lawsuit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act by William A. Thomas, an executive with Siemens who also worked for a company that bought equipment from it as well as a company it acquired, according to thePhiladelphia Business Journal.

The suit accuses the healthcare division of Siemens of giving corporate customers of its medical imaging equipment bigger discounts than it gave the federal government while assuring the government that it was getting the best discounts Siemens offered, the Journal reported.

The case was initially a civil suit filed in 2004 in U.S. District Court in the Virgin Islands and has subsequently been amended. 

In early April, Siemens won a $267 million contract to supply radiology systems, subsystems and components on behalf of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. 

On Wednesday, Lance Longwell, director of public relations at Siemens, acknowledged that the “search was in connection with an investigation of a Siemens contract with the Department of Defense.”

However, in regards to the unfolding specifics of the case, Longwell said that it is not Siemens policy to comment on pending litigation, according to an email response received this morning. Source

DoD agents raid Siemens Healthcare offices MALVERN, Pa

APRIL 22, 2009 | SPECIAL EDITION Cardiovascular Business | Portals | Subscribe | Contact Us Breaking News DoD agents raid Siemens Healthcare offices MALVERN, Pa.—The criminal investigation arm of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) raided Siemens Healthcare offices in Malvern, Pa., this morning to secure workstations, and seek out records related to several military contracts. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service appears to be focused on medical imaging contracts that the company has with the DoD. In early April, Siemens won a $267 million contract to supply radiology systems, subsystems and components on behalf of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. At approximately 3:00pm today, the federal agents were seen loading large white file boxes into a van, and the agents confirmed that the boxes contained seized records—both computerized and paper records. Lance Longwell, director of public relations at Siemens, said that the search focused on one floor on one building of Siemens’ Malvern campus, and the company asked its employees who work near the area subject to the search to leave for the remainder of the day and to return tomorrow for a regular workday. Special Agent-in-Charge Ed Bradley confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that the search is part of an ongoing investigation but is not commenting on the nature of the probe. He said agents will remain on site “as long as it takes,” indicating that the all-day search will continue as documents are reviewed. Siemens said it “will continue to cooperate fully with the government’s investigation.” Further updates will be forthcoming. Cardiovascular Business CURRENT ISSUE • View Digital Edition • Search Articles • Subscribe • Advertise • Search Companies • Search Technologies • White Papers

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Harvard Medical Students Rebel Against Pharma-Ties

200 Harvard Medical School STUDENTS are confronting the administration demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom.
A front page report in the Business section of the New York Times should bestir some of Harvard Medical School alumni.  200 Harvard Medical School STUDENTS are confronting the administration demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom.  

“The students say they worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years – including some criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias in research and publishing and false marketing claims – have cast a bad light on the medical profession. And they criticize Harvard as being less vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial conflicts by faculty members.” 

Harvard received the lowest grade–an F--from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money. Harvard Medical School’s peers received much higher grades, ranging from the A for the University of Pennsylvania, to B’s received by Stanford, Columbia and New York University, to the C for Yale. 

The revolt began when a first year medical student “grew wary” when a professor promoted cholesterol drugs and “seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects.” He later discovered that the professor, a full-time Harvard Medical faculty member, was a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including manufacturers of cholesterol drugs.

Another first year student said:  “Before coming here, I had no idea how much influence companies had on medical education. And it’s something that’s purposely meant to be under the table, providing information under the guise of education when that information is also presented for marketing purposes.”

The fact is, no one is keeping track of faculty income from industry, or covert marketing pitches infiltrating the classroom: “The school said it was unable to provide annual measures of the money flow to its faculty..”  One Harvard professor’s disclosure in class listed 47 company affiliations.

On one side of the confrontation: the administration and most of the faculty who admittedly loath to “tighten the spigot” of cash from industry: 

“school officials see corporate support for their faculty as all the more crucial, as the university endowment has lost 22 percent of its value since last July and the recession has caused philanthropic contributors to retrench.”

An outspoken supporter of ties between industry and academia–who served on numerous pharmaceutical advisory boards, Professor Thomas Stossel who is unconcerned about industry influence. He views industry support as “a huge opportunity we ought to mine.” A smaller faction of students calls for “continued interaction between medicine and industry at Harvard.”  They are led by Vijay Yanamadala, 22.

On the other side: students such as Kirsten Austad, 24, a first-year Harvard Medical student who is one of the movement’s leaders, who said: “Harvard needs to live up to its name.  We are really being indoctrinated into a field of medicine that is becoming more and more commercialized.”

The students are joined by Dr. Marcia Angell, a faculty member and former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine who has vigorously advocated for an end to liaisons between academia and Big Pharma: “Too many medical schools have struck a ‘Faustian bargain’ with pharmaceutical companies.  If a school like Harvard can’t behave itself, who can?” source




10 Youtube URL Tricks You Should Know About


youtube url tricksYoutube – You know that site with videos and all. Yeah! It turns out that its quite popular and you happen to visit and use it quite often. Instead of just searching and playing here are some top Youtube URL tricks that you should know about:

1. View high quality videos

Youtube gives you the option to switch to high quality videos for some of the videos, however you can check if a video is available in high quality format by appending ‘&fmt=18′(stereo, 480 x 270 resolution) or ‘&fmt=22′(stereo, 1280 x 720 resolution) for even higher quality.

2. Embed Higher Quality Videos

While the above trick works for playback, if however you want to embed hig quality videos you need to append “&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″ and “&ap=%2526fmt%3D22″ to the embed url.

3. Cut the chase and link to the interesting part

Linking to a video where the real action starts at 3 minutes 22 seconds, wondered if you could make it start at 03:22? You are in luck. All you have to do is add #t=03m22s (#t=XXmYYs for XX mins and YY seconds) to the end of the URL.

4. Hide the search box

youtube url start time

The search box appears when you hover over an embedded video. To hide the search box add ‘&showsearch=0′ to the embed url.

5. Embed only a part of Video

youtube url to mp3

Just append ‘&start=30′ to skip first 30s of the video. In general you can modify the value after start= to the number of seconds you want to skip the video for.

6. Autoplay an embedded video

Normally when you embed a Youtube video and load the page, the player is loaded and it sits there waiting for you to hit the play button. You can make the video play automatically by adding ‘&autoplay=1′ to the url part of the embed code.

7. Loop an embedded video

Append ‘&loop=1′ to make the video start again without user intervention after it reaches the end.

8. Disable Related Videos

youtube url downloader

Publishing your content in the form of Youtube video? Don’t want people to see other people’s content that may be related but may as well be in competition to you? Just add ‘&rel=0′ to the end of the url part of the embed code and you just turned off the related video suggestions!

9. Bypass Youtube Regional Filtering

Some videos are only available in certain parts of the world. Your IP Address is used to determine your location and then allow or deny access to the video. Change the url from<somecode&gt; to<somecode&gt;

10. Download Video

Although not inherently a youtube trick but useful all the same for downloading videos. Just change youtube to kickyoutube in the url of the video and it will take you to with all the options for downloading the video you were watching.

Do you know of some similar Youtube URL tricks and hacks? Fire them in comments!



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